News Nosh 4.15.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday April 15, 2019

 
Quote of the day:
"The people have decided that there are more important things than clean hands.."
--Former High Court justice Eliyahu Matza breaks his silence and speaks about the elections and the politicians.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • The heart shuts closed - A moment before Passover, aid charities report a significant drop in fundraising for the needy
  • Rush to sign up for low rent project in Tel-Aviv: 4362 people competing for 86 apartments
  • On the way to a government - today, the march of the recommenders at the President begins
  • Fear in the nursery - Ichilov Hospital: Babies vaccinated after exposed to measles by sick father
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin begins today meeting the heads of the different parties to hear who they recommend be forming the next coalition government, but Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to be the chosen one and is already hammering out his newest coalition - which he said would not be a unity government (Maariv), making today’s top story. Also in the news, an Israeli delegation canceled its visit to Bahrain citing security concerns, after a public outcry broke out with protesters taking to the streets of the capital.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Former European leaders oppose the 'deal of the century,' say it's unfair to Palestinians - The Washington Post reports the yet undisclosed plan includes Palestinian autonomy but no sovereign state; former European high-ranking politicians call on Europe to come out against it if it does not include viable Palestinian state and adhere to international law – principles they say Trump administration is moving away from. (Ynet, Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Netanyahu congratulates Trump on ICC decision not to investigate U.S. forces - The international court is 'picking on the United States and Israel, two democracies,' the prime minister said, thanking Trump for standing by Israeli soldiers. (Haaretz+)
  • Trump threatened Netanyahu: If you do not limit China, security cooperation will be harmed - In meeting with Netanyahu in late March, shortly after he officially recognized Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights, US President expressed concern over cooperation with China in infrastructure projects in Israel, demanded Israel take necessary measures, according to a Channel 13 news report. Prime Minister's Office denied.(Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Netanyahu: PA unity government will ‘strengthen terror’ - Ahead of official declaration of new Fatah-Hamas leadership, PM calls on international community to boycott Palestinian Authority - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday condemned the Fatah-Hamas unity government, the day before the slated announcement of its formation, and urged the international community not to recognize the new entity. (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Report: "Terrorist Organizations Consider Returning to Launching Molotov Cocktails" - Al-Quds newspaper reports that Palestinian factions re-examining use of balloons and explosives on the Gaza border, in response to what they called the "Israeli evasion of the implementation of the understandings of calm." It was reported that some understandings not implemented included permitting the import and export of goods to/from Gaza. Also reported, factions now reexamining  use of flares and "night harassment" on the fence in order to press Israel to implement the understandings agreed upon. (Maariv)
  • Palestinian security prisoners report progress in negotiations with Israel - Israel Prison Service contradicts claim, says number of Palestinians participating in the strikes diminished. (Haaretz+)
  • Hebrew University to host Israeli army base on campus - Jerusalem university wins tender for prestigious military academic program. Army will be permitted to install security and computer systems and students will carry firearms on campus. (Haaretz+)
  • Satellite footage of missile site struck in Syria - Israeli intelligence company released satellite images of the complex in Syria, believed to be an Iranian missile production facility, that suffered an airstrike Saturday, believed to be by Israel; site assumed to be producing more precise missiles but no warheads. (Ynet and Maariv)
  • IDF nixes plans to integrate women in tank combat positions - Despite a successful trial period training female tank crewwomen, Israeli military chooses not to expand the project due to considerations of cost-benefit, opting to integrate female troops into existing combat units; 'Do we want our future mothers returning home without limbs and with PTSD?' (Maariv and Yedioth/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Number of Suspects Detained by Cops in Israel Reached 10-year Low in 2018 - Police say better scrutiny and overcrowding in detention cells are main reasons for decline as arrests drop by 11 percent. (Haaretz+)
  • Hospital bed availability in Israel at lowest since 1980s - Number of beds per 1,000 people has hit lowest point in three decades, Health Ministry data shows. Only 165 beds added last year while population grew by 174,000. (Haaretz+)
  • Laborer dies in Israel's 21st fatal work accident of 2019 - Work accident fatalities stood at 18 at the same point a year prior. Activists say government failing to address problem. (Haaretz)
  • Settler charged after nearly downing Israel Air Force plane - The Hercules pilots could not see Yedidya Meshulami’s private helicopter. Meshulami took off from his private and illegal airstrip in the unauthorized Alumot outpost near Itamar settlement where he lives, nearly causing a collision. (Haaretz+)
  • Mothers of 3 Israeli teens abducted and murdered by Hamas to be honored on Israel's Independence DayIn first, three people will be allowed to light a ceremonial torch at this year's 71st Independence Day celebrations as mothers of Naftali Frenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah - brutally killed by Hamas operatives in June 2014 - say they’re overwhelmed with emotions. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • South African Firm Backs Out of Israeli-led Dairy Purchase After BDS Pressure - Brimstone had partnered with Israel’s Central Bottling to buy dairy firm Clover. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Long-distance Runner Selamawit Bayoulgn Receives Israeli Citizenship - Ethiopian-born Bayoulgn is married to Israeli marathon record holder Marhu Teferi and could qualify for the World Championships as soon as next week. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli Gymnast Linoy Ashram Wins Five Medals at World Cup - The country's top rhythmic gymnast will bring home two gold medals, two silver, and a bronze. (Haaretz)
  • 'They ask what we have between our legs': A third of transgender Israelis are unemployed - As men, they had no problem getting jobs. But once they began wearing dresses and makeup, they were fired. (Haaretz+)
  • Tel Aviv will finally run buses on Shabbat - but only for Eurovision guests - City to provide two separate routes to the contest, takes measures against taxi price-gauging ahead of the contest finale. (Haaretz)
  • 3D laser imaging shines new light on 'Last Supper' site - Archeologists recreated site believed to be where Jesus held Last Supper, on Passover ahead of crucifixion, using laser scanners, advanced photography; also traditionally recognized as King David's tomb. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • 2,600-year-old Jerusalem discovery leaves archaeologists shell-shocked - Until now archaeologists had believed that chickens were domesticated for the sake of watching them fight, which the ancients found marvelously entertaining. (Haaretz+)
  • Gaza hackers used phishing attacks to target individuals, corporations in 39 countries - Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity firm: Gaza Cybergang shows lack of infrastructure, advanced tools no impediment to success • We expect damage caused by Gaza Cybergang to intensify and cyberattacks to extend into other regions with links to Palestinian issues," he said.  (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Bolsonaro: My comments on forgiveness in context of Holocaust, misunderstood - In a letter to Israeli ambassador Yossi Shelley, Bolsonaro claims I did not mean to use the term 'forgiveness' for the Holocaust, in a historic context; interested parties are attempting to distance me from my Jewish friends. (Ynet)
  • Iran's Zarif warns of consequences of 'illegal' U.S. move against Revolutionary Guards - Foreign minister said will send letters to governments worldwide 'to tell them it is necessary' to object to 'unprecedented and dangerous' measure. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran Summons French Ambassador Over Colleague's Tweet - Iran angry after French envoy claims "it's false" to say Iran would be allowed to enrich uranium in 2025, after major restrictions expire. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Iranian Who Removed Headscarf in Public Protest Sentenced to Year in Prison - Vida Movahed was pardoned by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but release procedures are still underway. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iraq unearths mass grave of Kurds killed by Saddam Hussein - Iraqi President Barham Salih says nation must never forget Saddam Hussein's crimes or allow his party to return to power • Grave contains dozens of bodies of Kurds who "disappeared" during Anfal campaign against Iraqi Kurds in the late 1980s. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu May Have Won, but Israel's Political Landscape Has Fundamentally Changed (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) The disappearance of Labor and arrival of the largest centrist party in Israel’s history means that the next political battles will be fought on new issues: Not on peace or the Palestinians, but democracy.
This little piggy had none (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth/Ynet) As Netanyahu heads toward his 5th term, repercussions of his divisive campaign remain. Likud brass should expect to be disappointed as the lucrative ministerial posts, finance, defense and foreign ministry, are expected to go to coalition partners. It is worthwhile that all parties commit to respect their political adversaries.
The Court Will Be Netanyahu's Punching Bag, With Nobody to Moderate the Blows (Revital Hovel, Haaretz+) Kulanu Chairman Moshe Kahlon says internal polling shows he lost voters because of his consistent defense of the legal system.
The real battle is within the Likud (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Although President Rivlin has yet to task Netanyahu with forming the next government, senior Likud officials are already battling over who will be made a minister.
Large-scale Intimidation Against Arabs on Election Day Shows Israeli Law Must Be Changed (Mordechai Kremnitzer, Haaretz+) A crime appears to have been committed here, and the motive was racist. The Knesset never imagined such a scenario.
While Kahol-Lavan blurred its positions, the right-wing went with its truth until victory (Ran Edelist, Maariv) It is hard to imagine that huge demonstrations of semi-violence against the corrupters of the draconian regime in Israel (will take place here), such as the outbursts in Venezuela or the Arab world/ Protest is born from real distress…A thousand postmortem surgeries won’t cover up the immortal fact: the tribes said their word. The rightist bloc won, and the State of Israel came a step closer to fulfilling Uri Avneri’s vision: integration into the Semitic space. The name of the winning game in the 2019 election was authenticity. The real winners were the tribes who went with their truth to the end, including "We are corrupt, so what?" They were the basis of the previous coalition and the one to be built later on. Headed by the Likud that went with its truth: No matter how corrupt Binyamin Netanyahu is, he is our leader and no one else. And it worked. In Yisrael Beiteinu, they went with their truth: It does not matter how corrupt the heads of the party are and that they are on their way to jail. We are focused on getting rid of the Arabs and killing every Palestinian who raises his head. And it worked. In Shas, too, they went with their truth: No matter how corrupt Aryeh Deri is, he is the leader of our traditional Mizrachism and the substitute of our Lord on earth. And it worked. United Torah Judaism went with its truth: What happens outside our shtetl does not interest us, the main thing is that we get our share of the pie. A corrupt prime minister? It must have happened while we were praying. And it worked. The Union of the Right-wing Parties also went with its truth: We are kosher Jews (not LGBTs), and warriors (not chiefs of staff, of course). Netanyahu's corruption? The immunity law will be enacted immediately. And it worked. Those who lost their authenticity on the right were actually Hayamin Hadash party of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, who pretended to be lite-secular. I know a lot of people who are happy that they lost besides Bibi and Sara (Netanyahu), and I suggest that they calm down. If Shaked and Bennett would have tormented us with whips, Betzalel Samotrich and Yariv Levin will torture us with scorpions. In contrast to the right-wing religious-nationalist right which won, the clean Kahol-Lavan tried to do hybrid politics. It pretended to be right-wing, did religious rituals, winked to the left-wing and killed Arabs (in retrospect, as an entry ticket to the tribal society of the authentic right). I do not pretend to say that if Kahol-Lavan were playing it authentic left it would have been more successful. Benny Gantz & Co. did a pretty good show, but not good and real enough to sweep to victory. This is also the work of Avi Gabbay, who pretended to be Mizrahi, rightist, traditionalist, leftist, socialist, capitalist, and the more he dispersed in all the opposite directions, the more he lost himself and the votes of his voters. It is precisely the authenticity of Meretz and Hadash-Ta'al, both of which survived the electoral minimum threshold, which proves how equal it is when it comes from the core of the periphery and not from the ‘center.’
Across the Arab World, Women Are at the Forefront of the Revolution (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) In Algeria, Yemen, Sudan and Egypt, women are at the helm of major change. But don't be fooled: Their rights still lay buried.
The "baboons" won: When the media mocked Netanyahu for years, it mocked his supporters (Kalman Liebeskind, Maariv) After years in which the media treated the prime minister as the leader of a herd, this great herd got up this week, and for the fifth time it raised a finger at it.
Unity Government? No, Thanks (Israel Cohen, Haaretz) While everyone else was busy with the submarines and Netanyahu’s catered meals, or with an Iranian hack of Benny Gantz’s cellphone, Arye Dery, Moshe Gafni and Yaakov Litzman were crisscrossing the country and amassing votes. Now, it’s payback time. The heads of the ultra-Orthodox parties will seek to reap the rewards and provide a long list of achievements for their voters, including a revised conscription law, requiring conversions to be performed according to Jewish law, preventing public transportation on Shabbat, and providing public housing and welfare allowances for families with many children. There’s no reason why Netanyahu, who knows who his loyal supporters are and even said so in every interview, should betray the trust they gave him and instead form a governing coalition with Gantz and Yair Lapid.
What's the point of national unity government? (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet)  Coalition government headed by Netanyahu with Gantz as his deputy not only undermines the interests of the politicians themselves but also doesn't serve the interests of the country, which - despite how it may seem - isn't facing any overwhelming crises.
Unity government - It All Comes Down to Lieberman (Raviv Drucker, Haaretz+) After the last election I was one of those who said: Let the right govern without excuses; let’s see them do it. They aren’t going to annex the territories and they won’t cancel the Oslo Accords. But while there was no annexation, it’s not certain that I was right. I was assuming that no government headed by Netanyahu would make progress on the diplomatic front, so there was no point in providing him with a fig leaf, as Barak did between 2009 and 2013 and Yair Lapid and Livni did in subsequent coalitions. I thought, how much damage could the right do? This time it’s different, because the potential damage that the right can do is real and significant. Perhaps even annexation, but certainly immunity for Netanyahu, a Supreme Court override clause, or a court that no longer has judicial review over legislation; an effort to castrate the Public Broadcasting Corporation and laws that will undermine the media in general.
There's no way forward for Israel's left without the Arabs (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) Many will say a political alliance with the Arabs is a clear recipe for failure for the Jewish public. But this is exactly the goal of winning hearts and minds. I am not looking for understanding from Miri Regev and Bezalel Smotrich, but from the sort of people who want to bring down the corrupt kingdom that rules here. If the Arabs vote with similar turnout to that of the Jews, a revolution is possible.
To Boycott or Not to Boycott: Israel's Election as Seen From Ramallah (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The debate among Palestinian citizens of Israel between participating in the election or boycotting it is not new, even if this year the participation rate continued a downward trend.

Commentary/Analysis:
Abbas is between a rock and a hard place (Yoni Ben Menachem, Israel Hayom) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ stubbornness is forcing the Palestinians to accept any new situation imposed upon them by the Trump administration and Israel.
Young Palestinians are digitally breaking Israel's Gaza blockade (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The responses to the posts of the group of young people trying to speak out online about their desire to live freely are too hostile to be believable. Are they bots? Salaries employees of an Israeli ministry? Kahane supporters?
Abbas cannot take Israel to court (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) The Palestinians would be ill-advised to ignore Trump's threat of punishing those who try to prosecute Israel at the International Criminal Court.
Meet the World's Last, Best Hope to Prevent Israel's Annexation of the West Bank (Abe Silberstein and Daniel J. Solomon, Haaretz+) America's no longer pretending to be an honest broker. The Arab world's no longer pretending to care about the Palestinians. That leaves France's Macron holding the whole future of the Middle East peace process in his hands.
Trump’s clear view of the Golan Heights ( Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom) International law does not license aggressors to launch risk-free wars.
 
Interviews:
*Former justice Eliyahu Matza: “(Ayelet) Shaked's agenda went bankrupt because the people did not buy it"
Former High Court justice Eliyahu Mazza was interviewed on Sunday on KAN Bet radio, explaining that the prime minister could serve as long as he was not convicted in a court ruling and referred to the defeat of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. (Maariv)
 "I have not spoken until now because I did not want to make a political statement. The nation spoke in the general aspect. The people put its faith in a Binyamin Netanyahu government, his faction, the Knesset. According to the law, a prime minister can serve until he is convicted in a final judgment in the final ruling, after which he [if he is found guilt, he - OH] is dismissed. But as long as he is not dismissed, he can formally (run the government)…The High Court ordered Yitzhak Rabin to fire Minister Aryeh Deri and Deputy Minister Rafael Pinchasi if they did not resign themselves, because they were put on trial," Mazza said. "Since then, it has taken root that a minister can not continue to serve if there is a serious indictment against him. If he does not resign, the prime minister must fire him. This is a very difficult question, what will the High Court do if petitions of this kind are submitted to it. The question arises whether the prime minister should not dismiss himself from all the ministerial posts he holds. As prime minister, he is apparently protected." The former judge went on to say that "as a citizen I say it is undesirable. It is not good for the public climate in which a person with a cloud of grave suspicions is leading the state. There can be no more serious offense than bribery.”
The public claims that a case is being built against Netanyahu.
"The people have decided that there are more important things than clean hands, and the international press is surprised and amazed at how and why. The people seem to accept and fears that anyone who replaces him will not be able to talk to Trump or Putin, or replace him. That is a mistaken perception. The prime minister is not interested in advancing his (judicial) process. If he were honest, he would have to expedite the process.”
On the delay in the trial process by Netanyahu's lawyers, who did not come to take the investigation material yet, because, according to them, they have not received payment so far:
"I know criminal lawyers. I had decades of experience with them. Such lawyers are eager to receive the investigation material as quickly as possible, so that they will have time to study it. They want the material as quickly as possible. [Netanyahu’s lawyers] want the material to be kept in a deep freeze.”
On Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked:
"The people ousted Shaked, but at the moment her agenda has gone bankrupt because the people did not buy into it. The people want a right-wing government and Likud, but also the rule of law, and her campaigns with the perfume that 'smelled of fascism' were not to the point and they deterred the nation. There is a large voice among the people that does not want a one-man government, does not want the rule of a fascist majority, so the people did not accept her agenda…There were very harsh statements.
They tried to undermine the status of the rule of law. I heard a newly elected MK named May Golan who said her main goal was to restore power to the elected officials, because this country is run by judges...I think it's ignorance. This country is not run by judges. She said she wanted a law to bypass the High Court and other things. To say 'the judges have taken over,’ ‘a dictatorship of judges.’ This is very embarrassing."

 On the High Court of Justice:
"Yariv Levin did not hide his harsh criticism of the High Court, and especially of the High Court of Justice. He said it in countless words: He was a bit of a mentor of Ayelet Shaked. He sent poisoned arrows on different occasions, with the same distorted perception. (He said,) the judges took control of the system, when actually we have a High Court that is among the most restrained. If the Knesset respected itself as the High Court of Justice respects it, our situation would be much better. There is an unhealthy arm-bending phenomenon, and we must take advantage of this period to understand that in order to establish a democratic state, we need a rule of law."
 Regarding the Kahanist ideology:
“Kahanism is an unacceptable phenomenon by any standard. It is inconceivable that the Kahanists continue. We have to remove this phenomenon from our lives. In my opinion, it should be done not by politicians, but by the court, with a forum of judges and academics, not with people who are themselves candidates for the Knesset. Politicians have interests. What does it matter if he says he is different from all kinds of people? You do not have to bring them to the Knesset. We have to preserve the moral character of the state.”

 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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